The 100 year old Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is where holidaymakers flock for the Looff Carousel and classic vintage wooden Giant Dipper roller coaster This is retro America, enjoy a corn dog or chowder fries and make a day of it. At the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf stop for delicious seafood and souvenir shopping before taking a bay cruise, a whale watching trip or sailing off on a fishing trip to fish for salmon, albacore or rock cod. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy the barking sea lions lying around in heaps near the Wharf s crossbeams.
Surfers never had it so good! You can see them bobbing and swooshing in Monterey Bay at several points near the foot of the West Cliff Drive oceanfront bluff all the way to the Natural Bridges State Beach. Steamer Lane is particularly popular.
Mark Abbot Memorial Lighthouse at Point Santa Cruz (named after a surfer who died there in 1865), houses a surfing museum tracing local surfing history back to the early 20th century. Surfers gather at Pleasure Point and Steamer Lane near the lighthouse and there are several competitions held in the summer.
The Natural Bridges State Beach has tickle pools and sea sculpted rock bridges--nature at its best. An added bonus from October to early March, is a colony of Monarch butterflies which roosts in a eucalyptus grove. Wilder Ranch Sate Park is where you can visit the homes, barns and bunkhouse of a 19th century dairy farm or go hiking, biking or horseback riding along miles of ocean view scenic trails.